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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • If you don't have a 'broadcast voice,' you should think twice before broadcasting

  • Problem is only magnified if you say bizarre things like raisin juice and ooo-ey gooo-ey.


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  • There are many talents that we develop over time. You know what they say about practice. While it might not result in perfection like the old saying goes, it’ll make you better at shooting a basketball, correctly solving a math problem or playing the guitar.
     
        Some talents, however, we’re born with. Some like to refer to them as the “God-given” variety.
        Take your voice, for instance. Whether you have a unique one or one that fills a room, or have kind of a shrill one or one that’s as meek as a mouse, it’s all yours.
     
        This isn’t necessarily a singing thing, either. You can be born with a so-so voice, or have a voice that changes significantly for the better or worse when puberty kicks in. But if you have decent pipes, you’re probably a pretty good singer to begin with, or have the potential to become a better singer with the proper coaching.
     
        In the communications industry, there are obviously many facets. The communications umbrella casts a wide shadow. When I majored in journalism at Moorhead State University, there were no less than five separate, specific “concentrations” among the wide swath cast by MSU’s journalism/communications program.
     
        I majored in Broadcast Journalism, specifically, because I envisioned a future career in the TV news business. When I landed a coveted internship during my senior year, I had my 12-inch mullet of the millennium chopped off and figured I was on my way to a life in front of the camera.
     
        Until I was told, at the conclusion of the summer-long internship, that I lacked “TV presence.”  OK, I figured, so maybe I didn’t exactly jump off the screen. But there had to be some nuggets of potential on which I could build, right? But when I sought a more expansive critique of my broadcasting abilities, I was also told that my voice projected over the airwaves was a bit “nasally.” Thankfully, I was told that my writing was rock-solid and it was something I should concentrate on as I mapped my future career path.
     
        But I’ve never stopped wishing that I had a broadcast voice; you know, a voice that could make me some decent coin, doing voice-overs in commercials, or as a narrator.
     
        In this area, some people simply have all the luck. You might not realize it, but some of the planet’s most famous actors make millions of dollars more doing voice-over work. If you like to watch nature and/or wildlife shows on Nat Geo or The Discovery Channel, you’ve probably heard smooth, soothing narration in the background on Frozen Planet or Planet Earth courtesy of actors Alec Baldwin, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones and Sigourney Weaver. Like they really need that gig, too?
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        Others are blessed, too. Crookston’s own Tom Helgeson has a great radio voice. And Tom Barnard, the reigning morning radio show king in the Twin Cities, at KQRS 92.5 FM, might have the best radio voice I’ve ever heard, and he has a tidy little side career doing voice-overs.
     
        But some people maybe should have gotten the advice I did way back in college: Their voices simply don’t cut it when they’re broadcast to the masses.
     
        Have you heard the Country Hearth commercials on area radio stations lately? Hey, they bake a decent loaf of bread, but the marketing/advertising company that hired the old guy to do the voice-overs for their radio commercials needs to be taken behind the shed for 10 lashings. The guy, while some might think he has a jovial, folksy quality, sounds like someone’s creepy great-uncle who makes people uncomfortable at holiday gatherings.  When he lists some of the ingredients during a Country Hearth radio commercial for a particular bread and says “raisin juice” I feel like I need to take a shower, and then stock up on Sara Lee bread.
     
        Then there’s the Valley Dairy lady. A great business, Valley Dairy. The best car wash in the region, and always top-notch customer service. But she needs to let a professional speaker handle Valley Dairy’s radio commercials. When she uses the term “oooo-ey goooo-ey” to describe Valley Dairy’s fresh-baked caramel rolls, I feel like I need go through the Valley Dairy car with with our Chevy Avalanche, or check the bottom of my shoes to see if I accidentally stepped in something gross.
     
        Two things you never want to hear spoken in a radio commercial, or in any facet of life whatsoever: Raisin juice and oooo-ey gooo-ey.
     
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